The digital transformation provides developing economies new opportunities to leapfrog industrial age infrastructure, to draw on the vast knowledge spillovers from the internet, to take advantage of new markets offered by digital platforms and to exploit production possibilities enabled by digital technologies. It also increases the distance to the technological frontier as leading-edge countries race forward, creates new competitive challenges in capturing production mandates in tasks that can be automated and poses daunting new governance challenges. Developing countries can leverage the valuable data they generate, given their population size, rapid adoption of mobile technology and digital procurement potential, to improve the bargains they strike with advanced country suppliers and platforms and in trade negotiations.

  • Dan Ciuriak is a senior fellow at CIGI, where he is exploring the interface between Canada’s domestic innovation and international trade and investment. He is the director and principal of Ciuriak Consulting, Inc.

  • Maria Ptashkina is an economics Ph.D. candidate at University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. Her main research interests include macroeconomics, international economics and trade policy.